IN THE KNOW with Garret Louie

February 12, 2021 | KNOWSHOW

Photo by Luis Valdizon

While we can’t gather in person, we still believe it’s important to connect to share our experiences, what is happening in the industry, and what we’ve learned over the trails of the last year. 

Welcome to IN THE KNOW. 

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First off, how are you doing?
Comme ci, comme ca. It’s been a wild year for sure. For sure the most challenging year I have ever had to deal with professionally but we’re getting through it and making it happen.

What’s happening right now at Timebomb and NLA?
As you could imagine at one point we had all shops closed so it was extremely hard to navigate current stock, pre-books, accounts receivable, and future products all coming with nowhere to go. Once everything opened we had certain categories and brands that blew up and some that were a little down. All in all, I’m happy to say that Spring 21 pre-books were up an average of 20% which is a Covid God-send. Not even sure how that happened. Well, I know how that happened. Extreme hard work on everybody's part. Shops included. I’m blessed to have such rad partners at NLA and Timebomb as it was a team effort to navigate through this.

Photo by Garret Louie

Looking back on 2020, what was the thing you felt you struggled with the most over the last year?
Where do I start? This could be a page of things. Inventory, sales, finance, shops, staff, stress, anxiety lol. What wasn’t a struggle and who didn’t feel some sort of way trying to figure it all out with the blinders on? Don’t get me wrong, I had loads of revelations & realizations and positive moves to sort everything. In the end, it will be okay, but for now, we are all grinding away.

Maybe it was overcoming the above, or something else, but what is one thing that you feel you took away from last year, that you wouldn’t have in a normal year?
I lost 18 lbs!! Just really fine-tuning the business from all angles. Re-visiting every single part of the business and personal life, really.

How’d you lose all that weight? Any systematic changes you took on that you can pass on to your fellow aging industry folk?
It was for sure a combination of things. Intermittent fasting was probably the biggest game-changer as I have been doing that for the last 10 months. For me, that worked out fairly easily as being to skip breakfast and save some time. I also added Yoga, push-ups & sit-ups, and a more pescatarian diet. When it comes time for lunch I’m usually just eating some fruit and juices & not going out of the office too much for any big meals.

I recently caught up with your interview with May (Globus) on her podcast The Craft, and you made an interesting comment about some DJs moving on from the music scene, with COVID kind of surfacing the reality that there comes a time to age out of the business. Do you think there is a similar zone for the fashion industry?
A little bit but not the same as Dj’s. Dj’s are straight catering to a 19-25-year-old crowd so although you can do it at 45-50 years old, it can get a little weird. You can have an older owner of a shop catering to all sorts of ages no problem. The only thing that might age out is the shop owner’s patience to deal with all the stuff that comes from owning a shop. As long as the shop owner is keeping up on whatever they need to grow their business, social media, marketing, inventory & online, etc it’s all good. That could be hiring somebody younger to help. Obviously, web stores saved a ton of shops and a lot of them will tell you it was a nice kick in the ass to get their sites going. I feel if you didn’t have one during lockdown it’s going to hurt your bottom line.

Photo by Garret Louie

You recently announced that you had sold your shares in Livestock, congrats. What was the most interesting thing you took away from the sale and transition?
Well, I’m forever grateful to my partner Gary, who stick-handled everything and was honest & fair throughout. With everything I have going on in my life, I felt the timing was just perfect and I learned that it’s okay to finally ‘let go’. Covid helped me cleanse any excess of my personal items & stuff that I just wasn’t using on the daily. You will see me cleanse more in the next 5 years to really focus on my current projects.

I saw that you were running through a pretty deep set of collections and letting things go. Any wild Craigslist or weirdo collector stories?
Yeah, I have lots. I wish I had filmed everything & the interactions as it kept me quite entertained during Covid as these guys would be coming over to pick stuff up. Depending on the items I was selling would be a different cast of characters. For my old Star Wars stuff that I had from when I was a kid, I met a bunch of middle-aged men that had crazy collections. They would send me photos of these massive Stormtroopers & their personal collections all displayed for example. Then you had the young Asian teen that was into the old sneakers. That was a whole other demographic. It was great to hear how they had all been coping through Covid, & what was going on with their job. Really interesting good people. Seems like people had a lot of money either via saving or CERB to buy stuff though.

Thanks so much for your time. We wish you continued success in these crazy days.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for everybody reading this I’m sure. Keep your heads up, stay positive and know that every month that goes by from here on in will be better than the last. I can’t thank everybody out there for fighting the good fight and supporting us along the way. We are here with you!

Much love GMAN

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